Rural Commodities Wrap – April 2014

Globally, commodity markets experienced heightened volatility in March, with the concerns of a slowdown in China and its first domestic bond default triggering some investor risk aversion.

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  • Globally, commodity markets experienced heightened volatility in March, with the concerns of a slowdown in China and its first domestic bond default triggering some investor risk aversion, while the US Fed’s assurance that monetary policy will remain suitably accommodative provided some support.
  • Australian business conditions remained soft in March amid signs the weaker environment is taking a toll on business confidence, which continues to slide.
  • Global business surveys are pointing to a weather-related slowdown in the recovery of advanced economies, but the upturn remains solid.

In Focus – Wine

  • Australian wine production rose moderately in 2013, largely driven by more favourable seasonal conditions for grapes leading to the 2013 vintage, relative to the previous two years across the country.
  • While the domestic wine industry continues to be challenged by stiff import competition, oversupply and strong retail market dominance, there are a number bright spots: a domestic market that increasingly trades up to higher-value products and growing Chinese imports of premium Australian wines.
  • While the structural reduction of the number of vineyards globally has continued since peaking in the mid-2000s, global wine production rebound in 2013 to levels not seen since 2006, largely driven by Old World production.
  • Global consumption has recovered somewhat after reaching a trough in 2010 when European consumers cut back on discretionary spending in the aftermath of the GFC, but not to pre-crisis levels. A partial recovery in French consumption, and the continuing catch-up phase in the US and China from relatively lower bases, have contributed to this trend.

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